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Optimisation Work

The optimisation work considered:
  • For the shared-running Elizabeth line option (Option 1):
    • the scope to extend 8 Elizabeth line trains per hour from Abbey Wood and the potential to extend services as far as Gravesend, facilitated by making adjustments to Southeastern services operating alongside extended Elizabeth line services.
  • For the segregated Elizabeth line option to Dartford combined with enhancement of National Rail services between Dartford and Northfleet (Option 3):
    • the potential value of Thameslink services making additional stops at Stone Crossing and Swanscombe
  • For the ‘National Rail Improvements’ option:
    • the potential to reduce the infrastructure requirements and cost of the scheme significantly through operating Southeastern services differently
  • For the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) option:
    • the scope to make the services more direct to improve journey times and better interface with development opportunities; and
    • the value of curtailing the Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet route via Dartford to terminate at Bluewater.
The outcome of this optimisation work was:
  • Elizabeth line Option 1 - an improved proposal was identified which would extend 8 Elizabeth line services per hour eastwards from Abbey Wood, 4 of which would terminate at Dartford with the remaining 4 extending on to Gravesend. This would be enabled by diversion to Dartford of the 2 train per hour “circular” services currently operating between the Crayford and Bexleyheath lines and the Abbey Wood line.
  • Elizabeth line Option 3 - we determined that it was not beneficial to have Thameslink services make additional stops at Stone Crossing and Swanscombe.
  • National Rail Improvements Option - we found that limiting the level of service enhancement to an additional 4 trains per hour between Dartford and Northfleet could reduce the need for new rail infrastructure and hence significantly reduce the cost of the scheme. The 4 train per hour enhancement could be delivered by diverting the 2 train per hour “circular” service operating between the Bexleyheath line and the Abbey Wood line to Dartford and extending 4 of the Southeastern services per hour from the Abbey Wood line that terminate at Dartford to Northfleet. Connectivity between the Bexleyheath and Crayford lines to Abbey Wood would be via Dartford where service frequencies would offer similar journey times. The 2 train per hour “circular” service operating between the Crayford and Abbey Wood branches would instead operate as a “circular” service between the Crayford and Bexleyheath lines.
  • Bus Rapid Transit Options - some improvements to service routing between Abbey Wood and Dartford were identified, while it was determined that maintaining a service to Ebbsfleet from Abbey Wood via Dartford was better than curtailing that service at Bluewater.